Philippians 4 Bible study

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Chapter 4

 

Standing Firm v1-9.

 

v1. Paul loved the believers at Philippi very dearly, and longed for them when he was absent just as a father longs for his absent children. They were his joy and crown, his reward for preaching the gospel message. He had given them plenty of good teaching so that they might stand firm in the faith, which he now exhorts them to do. We too must hold on to the teachings of the gospel and not allow anything to distract us from the Lord Jesus Christ. In these verses Paul tells us how to stand firm.

 

 We are to be United v2 & 3. Paul personally addresses two members of the church, Euodias and Syntyche. These two women, along with Clement and others had helped Paul in spreading the gospel message whilst he was at Philippi. For some reason these two women had fallen out. This dangerous situation could have affected the whole church - i.e. if some sided with Euodias and others with Syntyche. Unresolved differences  between church members can cause serious problems and damage our testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul begs the two women to make up and agree.

 

This would have meant humbling themselves, one giving way to the other, even though they both thought that they were in the right. It didn't matter who was right, they were to drop the matter. Prov 17.14. Our own interests are not as important as those of Christ's church.

 

Paul enlists the help of a "true yoke fellow" , probably the pastor of the church, to bring the two factions together. God's children ought not to quarrel, seeing as our names are written in heaven. This means that we have the same Lord, are washed in the same blood, have One Father, One Holy Spirit given to us, we have the same faith. Eph 4.4-6. So where is the room for division? Our names are in the Lamb's book of life. This is Christ's register of all who have accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Thank God that as believers we are not waiting or hoping for our names to be written in this book. They were written there before God made the world, because God knew even then who would accept His Son the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour Rev 17.8. Paul knew that his own name and the names of the Philippians were written in this book, and if our is, then we should be too busy rejoicing in the Lord to disagree.

 

We are to rejoice in the Lord. v4. As Christians we are to be continually rejoicing in the Lord. It is so important that we do, that Paul says it twice. After all the Lord has done for us, we should show our gratitude by being joyful in Him.

We are to be reasonable. v5. The word "moderation" in the AV is correctly translated "forbearance" and implies that we are to be reasonable in our dealings with others. Rather than jump off the deep end, we must take into consideration all the facts available to us. In other words we make allowances for people, being gentle and unselfish, as Christ was, in the light of His soon coming again.

 

We are not to be anxious. v6. We are not to be careful or anxious about anything. Instead, we should bring all our needs to God, beseeching Him in prayer and making our requests known to Him with thanksgiving. v7. As we do this, we shall know the peace of God that passes all understanding. When we have brought a matter to God, even if we cannot see or feel an answer, God has heard us and  given the answer that we asked of Him. This assurance will guard our hearts and minds in His peace, even before the answer arrives.

 

… We are to watch what we think V8. Continuing on the subject of peace, Paul says that if we want to maintain genuine peace of mind and have good mental well-being, we must co-operate with God. To stay physically fit, we must take regular exercise. If you want to avoid heart disease, then you watch what you eat - you cut down on the fatty food you take in. In the same way, to be mentally and spiritually fit, we must watch what we take in to our minds. We should be careful what we read in magazines, watch on TV or hear in conversation with others. With this in mind we must be careful what company that we keep. 1 Cor 15.33. We must not allow our minds to be filled with the corruption of the evil things we might see and hear. I have seen magazines in the hospital waiting room full of stories of murder, rape, and promiscuity. Soap operas are full of the same thing. Modern films are so often influenced by the occult. Christians should avoid all these things. Gossip, slander, swearing and sexual innuendo, too are of the spirit of the age and are not of God. Let us refuse to listen or take these things in. Illustrate: Do you know how a cobra kills its prey? It fascinates it with its movement until the animal is unable to get away, and becomes a snake's dinner. The devil may fascinate you with evil in books, on television, video or DVD. Beware, lest you be suddenly taken unawares like a little mouse.

 

The Christian must fill his or her mind with things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, things that can be well spoken of, virtuous and praiseworthy. This will help keep our minds in good health, and promote our peace and well-being SPIRITUALLY, as well as mentally.

 

† We are to follow the Godly Example we have been given v9 As Christians, we are to follow the example of godly leaders such as Paul. The Philippians were not to be content with just listening to Paul's preaching, they were to put into practise what they had seen and heard. This means they were to obey his teaching, and follow his life's example. They were to do the same things they had seen him do.

 

The Missions Minded Church v 10 - 20.

 

v10. Paul was overjoyed that the Philippians had at last been able to minister to his needs again. Although they had wanted to for some time, they had not been able to because of the distance involved (or a lack of funds themselves). v11 The reason for Paul's joy was not simply that he had received the material help, for he had learned to be content in whatever circumstance he found himself. v12. Whether he was poor or rich, whether he had plenty or whether he had to go without, he remained satisfied. v13. What was his secret? He had learned (for Christ had taught him) to be content. Whatever the outward circumstances were, he kept his eyes on Christ. He could joyfully bear any situation because it Christ strengthened him within, causing him to know that what Christ had gained for him eternally far outweighed any present discomfort.

 

v14. Paul was not being ungrateful for the gift, however. He was very grateful, and commends the Philippians for ministering to him in his need.

 

v15 & 16. The church had began to support Paul financially from the time of their conversion and continued to do so. During his ministry trip to Macedonia, theirs was the only such support that Paul had. [NB Thessalonica was the first place Paul went to after leaving Philippi, which indicates that the Philippian church had commenced their support of him early on]. Paul and his companions usually worked for their living. 1 Thess 2.9 Paul could not do this in prison.

 

v17.  Paul was delighted most of all that the Christian virtue of sacrificial giving was being established in the hearts of the Philippians. By this they would be laying up treasure in heaven. Matt. 6.19,20.

 

v18. The gift that the Philippians had sent met more than Paul's present needs. It was a blessing to him spiritually. The Philippians sacrifice had been made in the spirit of Jesus Christ and so was acceptable and well pleasing to God, for Christ is the only One to please God.

 

v19. This famous promise was given to a church that gave sacrificially for God's work so that God's servant might be provided for. It is not for others. Those who do not give to the Lord cannot claim His full blessing. Paul tells the Philippians that it is his God, the One that he has personally known and trusted, who has met all his needs, who would liberally provide for (fill to the full) every need that they have (AMP) from the measure of his own infinite resources - His riches in glory - and given through his own all powerful, eternal Son, Jesus Christ.

 

v20. It was God who made the Philippians able and willing to give and meet the need of His servant Paul. God would in turn meet the Philippians needs so that they might continue their ministry of giving. To God our loving and providing Father, be glory. Amen.

 

Final Greetings v21 & 22.

 

v21 & 22. The members of the church at Philippi were to extend friendship to all other Christians and greet them as such. Those who were with Paul in Rome sent their greetings, as did all the saints, and especially those who belonged to Caesar's household. Paul wanted the believers in this important Roman colony to know that the gospel had reached even as far as Caesar's palace, for there is no place that the gospel cannot penetrate.

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